Tuesday, June 30, 2009

One good thing about the recession.

Elio Grasso, Vigna Martina, Barbera d'Alba, 2005. 

Well finally, after 13 years I paid off my last student loan from Vanderbilt, and this was our celebratory wine!

While I would have preferred Krug, I have to say I was very very satisfied with this little beauty. I just love love Elio Grasso. It's traditional and restrained, but not dirty or oxidized. It's all done in neutral barrel, which gives a spicy complexity to the wine, while, of course, not imparting any over the top vanilla flavors. 

With only 2.2 hectares of this under vine, we usually only buy a few bottles of this a year as it seems to disappear shortly after its released. Thanks to the recession I've seen it around a little more than usual. See the recession isn't ALL bad, right??

Wine House $27.99. 

Monday, June 29, 2009


Robert Chevillon, Passetoutgrain, 2006. 

Ah! My new fav, goodbye Cru Beaujolais, hello Passetoutgrain. This is a very interesting wine from Burgundy where Gamay is blended with Pinot Noir, a minimum of 30% Pinot, but some of the best are 50/50 Gamay and PN. Unlike Beaujolais, there is usually not a lot of carbonic maceration, the best producers preferring to vinify the PN and the Gamay the same way. 

While I'm not sure on the exact blend of this wine, it's much different than 2 of my absolute favorite Passetoutgrains, Michel Lafarge and Francois Mikulski (both 50/50). This leads me to believe that its a higher percentage of Gamay, as it was more candied cherry than black cherry and very very light in style, high acid which made it very refreshing. It did take a little while to open up. I went from "I hate this wine!" to "wow! This ain't bad."

Peter bought this at Mission Wines in South Pasadena for $23. 

Friday, June 26, 2009

Another sale item.

Domaine Belle, Crozes-Hermitage, Les Pierrelles, 2005. 

I got this wine as a gift from a friend, but I recently saw it on sale at K&L for $24.99 and think it's a great bargain!

I love Crozes because the flavors are so reminiscent of framboise and I like framboise, but not the sweetness of it and so this is a perfect compromise. Raspberry, black cherry and black pepper - perfect for summer BBQ for all you beef eaters out there. As for me, I think I will drink this with some grilled asparagus. Charred and yummy!!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Who Says California Wine Doesn't Age?

Guest blogger: Jeff Zimmitti, Rosso Wine Shop

Inspired by a friend who turned me onto a 1991 Dominus some months back, I proposed to our tasting group that I source a few 1991’s and we compare 18-year-old Napa Cabernet. As my inclinations are almost always old world (I will generally pull an Italian or French wine as my “go to” wine) this tasting might be the one to start to alter my thinking. 

These wines were all amazing. They had some things in common from a profile perspective but they were all distinct and delicious. Not a corked or damaged wine in the bunch and a fantastic experience overall.

We tasted the wines blind and none were decanted. The group’s overwhelming favorite was the Insignia. But we decided this might not be fair because the Insignia had 10% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, so not a “true” Cabernet. My blind favorite was the Montelena (along with one other person).

This is the order they ended up being served blind.

1991 Laurel Glen Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Very good. Fleshy, easy fruit. Good aromatics. Dark red berries and earth.

1991 Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Napa Valley
More complex than #1. Higher acid. Some good funk in the nose. Cherries. Mint. Forest floor.

1991 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley
Silky. Tar in the nose. Intense. Gobs of fruit on the palate. 

1991 Joseph Phelps Insignia Napa Valley
Tomatoes and Twizzlers in the nose. Nice brightness. Rich. Good balance.

1991 Dunn Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Dusty. Rich red fruit. Bright acidity and a little funk in the finish.

1991 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Red candied nose. Silky texture. Great balance of intensity and richness. Well done. 

Go find some older California wines and give it whirl.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A trip to SF.

Giulin, Accornero, Monferrato, 2006.

100% Barbera. 

This wine came from a shop called Prima Palate in Marin County for $28, and so far we haven't been able to find it in LA, but it was super delicious and worth keeping an eye out for in the future. 

We drank this on the third evening we were in Napa the week of the MW Exam. But even though I was drowning my sorrows, I recognize a good Barbera when I drink one. My big beef about Barbera is that the affordable ones are often done in tank and taste very, well, "tanky", just meanign that they have tons of primary fruit and not a whole lot else going on. Though I could find very little info about this wine online in English, it definitely had some barrel influence and the fruit was well integrated with the alcohol and the oak and soft tannins. A really beautiful easy drinking wine. 

So next time you're in the SF surrounding areas, go by Prima Palate and pick up a bottle!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Go Riesling!

Schlossgut Diel, Dorsheimer Pittermannchen, Nahe, Kabinett, 2006. 

I found this wine in the sale bin by the register at K&L and while I'm sure there's none left, they had some great buys in that bin! This was $24.99, marked down from $32...

Though it had some RS, it wasn't too sweet, just right. Petrol, honeysuckle, white flowers, very aromatic, perfect for poolside frolicking! I LOVE RIESLING!!

While I usually look for Rheingau or Mosel when browsing for German Riesling there are some great producers in the Nahe, including Schlossgut Diel and Donnhoff. 

Thursday, June 18, 2009

In love with Saint-Amour.

Domaine Cheveau, Saint-Amour, 2007. 

Ok, well you know what Dr. Phil says, people don't give up habits, they replace them with other habits. It's public knowledge that I've been weening myself off of Cabernet Franc as it was becoming a real problem. But now I have another problem, Cru Beaujolais. I LOVE good BJ - no funny jokes Mr. Robert Porker, Jr., and this one was a real beaut. Loads of cherry and raspberry fruit, but not too primary, low tannins, high acid, totally thirst quenching!

$28 at Venokado

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Domaine Durand, Cornas, Empreintes, 2005.

This was real bang for the buck!! Smokey, delicious and totally clean. Which you know I love - I hate the dirty Rhone wines - no interest in drinking horse poo. But fora recovering vegetarian, this was really beautiful because it had pork/ham notes on the palate, which made me feel like I got my protein. 

$26.99 at K&L.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A virtual post-it on Tokaji.

I don't think I've ever blogged on a dessert wine before. I don't drink very many, hence the dearth of posts on this type of wine. 

Royal Tokaji, 5 puttonyos, 2003. 

I bought this down at Wine Exchange for $29.99, as I needed to taste it before the exam. I kept getting other wines confused for it, but when I tasted it, I realized its really a very specific style of wine, probably more akin to Chenin Blanc than anything else I can think of. But doesn't have the wet wool / bruised apple aromatics of Chenin. 

First, I should say its from Hungary, but then most of you know that already. Second, its fairly low alcohol, 10%. Third, the grape variety, Furmint, is super high in acidity. And while the residual sugar is also quite high, for this one it was 170 g/l (to put that in perspective wines are considered dry if below 4 g/l and Sauternes is around 110 g/l), the acid is so searing that its really hard to detect the high sugar levels. And for those of you new to Tokaji, the Puttonoyos represent the amount of sugar in the wine and range from 1 to 6 (low to high).

Anyhoo, if I were having a dinner party and wanted to serve dessert wine it would be this or a Coteaux du Layon from the Loire Valley or a Beerenauslese Riesling from Germany. I like lots of acid to balance the sugar... 

If you're wondering why I posted pictures of post-it notes I was trying to justify to you why I had taken a break from blogging. My brain was dead post-exam. I had post-it notes up all over the house, so there wasn't a moment when I wasn't learning something. Vin Santo and Ice wine production methods posted on the mirror in the bathroom so I could learn while brushing my teeth. .. MLF was by the front door... stats on China all over the office, Biodynamic / Organic / Sustainable farming methods on the full length mirror, etc. etc. I am beginning to get the impression that I look at myself in the mirror a lot. 

But now I feel invigorated and I know each of you have been terribly anxious for me to start the blogging adventures again. So here it is. Royal Tokaji. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Ok people, I'm back! Sorry for the delay in wine recommendations, I know you hang on my every word. 

Plus, aren't you sort of tired of the same old commentary? I am. Let's change it up. More guest bloggers is what I say!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Sweet what????

I saw this on a website I visit frequently called GrapeWallofChina.com, great great grape site if you want to know more about the Chinese market. And because we should all know more about the Chinese market because I think they are the next big thing in the world of wine, its worth boning up on. Non pun intended in regards to this post. 

Peter and I have made a few labeling mistakes, stuff that has cost us over $6,000 to correct. Mostly just legal mumbo jumbo that we didn't catch. But nothing like this. Though I'm inclined to think our wines do sometimes taste like "sweet fuck" I certainly wouldn't ever say it.... guess I just did. This label was mistranslated and now I think Alice White wines have a bit of a PR problem on their hands. Check out the post on GrapeWall. Far funnier than anything I could write!